Systems Engineering is only for large companies? In the following blog post, this preconception will be challenged. It shows the story of a small business owner and the ways in which she too can use Systems Engineering. The importance of tailoring the methods to the use case is emphasized. You will get an insight into the cooperation with our partners and which methods have already been successfully applied to an SME.

Saving people, doing something good every day, being cheered on. Who among us hasn’t had the thought of what it’s like to be a superhero? In fact, even in our real world, there are people who can be considered superheroes. People who move our society forward, but also people who contribute something big in small ways. Today we look at the story of Mia, and how she turns into a superhero too.

The Story of Mia

Mia has a vision to help a lot of people with her idea. She decides to put her idea into practice and founds a company. At the beginning everything goes well. The everyday problems can be mastered, and Mia does not let herself down. But bit by bit the process of building her business becomes more and more difficult. More and more problems arise, and the initial growth stagnates. Mia doubts whether she is still on the right track. What happened?

Typical problems of SMEs

During the development process, new ideas and suggestions for improvement are constantly being added. Mia’s product is always being redesigned. At a certain point it was no longer clear for whom and what exactly was being developed. The costs are getting higher and higher and the product more and more complex. Mia must admit to herself that she has completely lost the overview.

How can Advances Systems Engineering help?

In order to prevent great ideas from dying, countermeasures must be taken. Systems Engineering (SE) is already used successfully in large companies. SE helps to control complexity and thus to minimize risks and costs. The basic idea is to think in systems. To do this, it is necessary to understand the system and all the sub-systems integrated in it and to enable effective interaction and communication between them.

In Systems Engineering there are a variety of methods, tools and frameworks. For this reason, Systems Engineering itself may appear complex and costly. At first, a daunting factor for many SMEs. But Advanced Systems Engineering shows that this does not have to be the case. The many methods of Systems Engineering can be broken down to their basic essence. With this, the methods can now be adapted so that they can be easily applied to SMEs.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at an essential component of SE, requirements engineering. The goal here is to record the requirements of all stakeholders to the extent that these can be transferred into requirements for the product itself. In conventional SE there are a lot of expensive tools for this purpose. However, not all functionalities which the tools provide are necessary for SMEs. It is easily possible to scale down this method and make it usable for SMEs. By making small adjustments, Mia can take advantage of requirements engineering to prevent budget overruns and project delays.

There is no “one Systems Engineering” that fits every situation. It is important to understand and adapt the fundamental idea behind it. The methods can be adapted to the specific use case and thus deliver value to any project and company, regardless of its size.

During the AMeLie project, methods have already been successfully further developed and streamlined so that they can now be used by SMEs. Based on the four pillars of Advanced Systems Engineering, SMEs will be provided with a framework useful for all SMEs.

In our previous blogposts, methods for the pillars “Context and Customer Understanding” and “Process Efficiency” have already been presented. In the following blog posts, the pillars “System Mastery” and “Skill Management” will be described in more detail and methods will be shown.

First successes with our SME partners

Just like Mia, the SME was not certain exactly who the future customer would be. What are the customer’s wishes? Which of the customer’s problems should be solved with this product? And how will the future customer work with this product?

In the face ot the “Context and Customer Understanding” pillar, a method workshop was conducted in which the market, the product and the competition were considered. Customer were made transparent via target groups and personas. Activity diagrams were used to record the customer’s workflow when using the product to discover potential hurdles. To ensure that the added value generated by the product also covers the corresponding customer needs, a value proposition canvas was filled.

Finally, in addition to the product-related analysis, the company’s strategic direction was defined in the form of “Mission & Vision” statements.

Mia can use these methods to ensure that she and her team develop a product with the customer in mind and avoid the risk of developing something with no market.

When will you become a superhero?

With the help of Advanced Systems Engineering, great ideas can be saved and followed up. The application of the methods helps Mia to move her idea forward by understanding her system and reducing the complexity. Mia becomes a real-life superhero with her idea and helps a lot of people. When will you use the power of Advanced Systems Engineering for yourself and become a superhero too?